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Op-Ed: Macs Splash Reality On Dolphins

Tuesday’s showdown between the Yeshiva Maccabees and the University of Mount Saint Vincent Dolphins was more than just your average Skyline Conference Quarterfinal basketball game; it was a testament to the indomitable spirit of athletes overcoming adversity. In a thrilling 84-76 victory, Yeshiva avenged their previous loss and sent the Dolphins splashing back into their ocean for the offseason.


Throughout the season, the Maccabees endured a relentless onslaught of injuries, leaving fans to ponder what might have been in those heartbreaking losses. Last week's devastating defeat to these Dolphins, where a late lead slipped away in an 82-74 loss, epitomized the frustration felt by both players and supporters alike.


However, in the days leading up to Tuesday, there was a glimmer of hope as Or Sundjyvsky and Max Zakheim returned to action, restoring the Maccabees to full strength. And when game day arrived, the atmosphere crackled with anticipation as the boisterous and electric crowd eagerly awaited the long-awaited spectacle.


Finally, the Macs nation, which had endured the highs and lows of this rollercoaster, was rewarded with a performance that exceeded all expectations. With Sundjyvsky and Zakheim back in the lineup, the Maccabees showcased their full potential, dazzling the crowd with their skill, determination, and resilience.


Max Zakheim finally made his long-awaited returned from injury in Yeshiva’s 84-76 Skyline Conference quarterfinal victory over Mount Saint Vincent on Tuesday. (Photo Credit: Akiva Poppers/MacsLive)


Zakheim, whose comeback was dubbed "The Return of the Red Rocket," showed what’d been missing in the games since his injury. His tenacity, physicality, and leadership on the court energized his teammates and inspired renewed confidence and unity within the squad and the raucous crowd.


The stars had to shine, and they did. Led by standout performances from Zevi Samet, Sundjyvsky, the returning Zakheim, and Dothan Bardichev, the Maccabees showcased their depth and determination. Samet's impressive 30-point display, Or’s 14 points— a beacon from downtown—, and Zakheim's triumphant eight points proved enough to assure the show its playoff sequel. Yet, as Samet noted postgame to MacsLive, “Every guy on the team has something individual and unique that helps us, and when they [Zakheim and Sundjyvsky] were out, guys had to step in and fill their roles, which they did a phenomenal job [with], and when they came back in, everyone could adjust back into their roles without any trial and error.”


The dominant presence of “The Bardichiver” in the frontcourt had the Dolphins swimming, and Roy Itcovichi, who added 10, painted himself a house down low. Yeshiva faced challenges, including struggles against the Dolphins' formidable zone defense and full-court press, but the Maccabees remained steadfast in their pursuit of victory. 


Looking ahead, Yeshiva is poised to build on this momentum on Thursday as they welcome the Manhattanville Valiants to Macsville in a conference semifinals rematch. 


Now, with a full-strength lineup and newfound depth, they’re ready to put forth a Valiant effort to exact revenge and advance to Sunday’s championship game. 


As fans eagerly anticipate the 27th chapter in this thrilling season, one thing is certain: the Maccabees are ready to write a story of triumph and redemption. 


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